8 Things to Know Before Downsizing Your Home

November 18, 2023

Downsizing your home can seem like a daunting task, but it also presents an opportunity to simplify your life. You may decide to do it because you are struggling to pay the bills, like a lot of people right now. Or it could be because your children have all left home, and the place feels too big. Whatever the reason, it’s worth giving your decision some careful thought, as moving home costs money.

Here are eight key things to keep in mind as you consider downsizing.

Calculate Your Space Needs

Carefully evaluate how much space you really require. Take measurements of rooms and make a list of essential items you want to keep. This will give you a realistic sense of the size of the home you need. Consider your ideal number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. The danger of downsizing is that you end up moving to a property that’s too small for your needs, which won’t work as a long-term solution.

De-Clutter Aggressively

Be ruthless about what you keep. If you haven't used it in over a year, consider letting it go. Sort items into "keep," "sell," "donate," and "trash" piles. Remember, every item you remove is one less thing to store and maintain.

Decluttering doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of items permanently, it just means removing them from the home. One solution that can work is moving items that you don’t want but can’t bear to get rid of into storage. For example, say you kept some antique furniture from your parents’ house and downsizing means it won’t fit in a smaller property. Rather than selling a family heirloom, store it somewhere convenient and safe.

Hold a Yard Sale

Once you are decluttered and are left with a pile of items you no longer want or need, look at ways to get rid of them. A yard sale is the perfect solution for anything that is in good condition but not especially valuable.

You can sell collectibles, clothing, furniture, and decor at a yard sale. Offering items cheaply helps them sell quickly. Consider donating unsold items for a tax write-off. Selling first cuts down what you need to move.

Assess Furniture Fit

Make a list of all your furniture and floor plan options so you can prioritize what works best in your new, smaller space. Measuring furniture and spaces helps optimize placement. You may need to get rid of oversized items, as discussed above.

Consult Professionals as Needed

Don't be afraid to enlist help. Realtors can price your home accurately. Estate sales specialists can handle clearing out belongings. Moving companies can smoothly transition your items. The right pros can save you time and stress, so make use of their services.

Set a Realistic Timeline

Rushing a move can lead to hasty decisions. Give yourself several months to prepare your home for sale, select a new home, and get organized. Transitions may take longer than expected, so build in a buffer.

Scan/Shred Documents

Comb through files and shred anything you don't need to keep. For important documents, create a digital copy, then shred the originals. This slims down your paper files substantially. Set reminders to cancel any unnecessary memberships.

Let Go Sentimentally

Not everything that seems hard to part with needs to move with you. Take photos of sentimental items you're ready to release. You can appreciate memories without keeping physical objects. Stay focused on your goals for downsizing.

Downsizing requires planning, decision-making, and perseverance. But you'll gain peace of mind, freedom from clutter, financial savings, and a home that suits your current lifestyle. With patience and organization, you can thoughtfully transition to your ideal smaller space.

 

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